SALEM (CBS) – It was an emotional day in court for one family and a former police officer. Eric Wayne was driving drunk when he crashed and killed a man in Methuen in August 2014.

Wayne tearfully apologized and faced his sentence head on. The 19-year veteran of the Lowell Police Department admitted his was drunk when he crashed his car on Route 110 in Methuen.

“I have a family that I care about too,” Wayne said. “I can’t imagine them being taken away from me the way I took your family member from you.”

Eric Wayne, 43, faced that still grieving family Tuesday in Salem Superior Court, admitting his actions took 26-year-old Briant Paula from his family and severely injured his sister.

“I’ve wanted to apologize every single day,” Wayne said.

Wayne, charged with manslaughter, changed his not guilty plea. He pleaded guilty to Motor Vehicle Homicide while Operating Under the Influence; Manslaughter and Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon.

The judge sentenced him to four years in prison.

“My actions, purposeful actions, negligent actions, took away someone that is clearly a beautiful amazing person in your life,” Wayne said. “And I don’t have and never will have the words to tell you how sorry I am for you.”

The prosecutor in the case recommended a sentence of seven to ten years, but the judge agreed to less time. Wayne will also face three years of probation after finishing his prison term.


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